Summarizing a topic into just one word can be a daunting task for students. They tend to think that more is better. When students are asked to develop a one-word summary, they must apply their critical thinking skills to investigate, read about, and analyze the topic. They must isolate the critical attributes and come up with one good word that fits the topic. After they have chosen their word, students must be able to defend their word choice with a valid reason. It is not their choice of the one word that makes this a powerful strategy, but the development of the rationale for defending that choice. This strategy can be used as a classroom assessment for learning as students evaluate their own justification for word choice. Teachers can quickly tell who has mastered the learning target.
Websites on One-Word Summaries:
One Word to Sum It All Up